A Travel Price Comparison for California Palm Springs vs. San Francisco for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Palm Springs or San Francisco?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Palm Springs and San Francisco can help you decide which place is right for you.

Where Should I go: Palm Springs or San Francisco?

Palm Springs

Palm Springs is a desert resort town located about two hours east of Los Angeles, most famously known as Hollywood's playground, where stars and starlets could escape for rest and relaxation but still be close enough to return for impromptu work.

It's no wonder that Palm Springs is increasingly popular as a weekend getaway for special occasions, and even for bachelor and bachelorette parties. Closer than the typical Las Vegas weekend for Southern California residents, Palm Springs provides a desert getaway with endless possibilities of activities, whether visitors want to gamble, shop, hike, or wander through an art gallery.

Climate in the high-desert is generally warm with highs in the 100s during the hot and dry summers, and lows in the mid 40s in the winter months, with sparse rainfall. However, if you're visiting during winter, be sure to pack versatile attire and layers as the days may be warm, but the nights in the low desert can get chilly enough to convince you to change into long pants.

San Francisco

San Francisco is a beautiful city that is famous for it's picturesque neighborhoods, liberal character, and stunning location on the bay. Some people describe San Francisco as the United State's most "European City." This title most likely comes from its compact development and its easy walkability. It also has no shortage of parks and public spaces where you can pass some time. The city sits on the end of a peninsula and offers stunning views of the blue bay, rolling green hills, and the striking Golden Gate Bridge.

Which place is cheaper, San Francisco or Palm Springs?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Palm Springs is $206, while the average daily cost in San Francisco is $222. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Palm Springs and San Francisco in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Palm Springs $120
    San Francisco $130
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Palm Springs $240
    San Francisco $260
Compare Hotels in Palm Springs and San Francisco

Looking for a hotel in Palm Springs or San Francisco? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Palm Springs


Hotels in San Francisco


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Palm Springs Hotel Prices and San Francisco Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Palm Springs $52
    San Francisco $16

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Palm Springs

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Palm Springs:

  • Private Transfer from Palm Springs Municipal Airport to Ontario: $265
  • Palm Springs Airport to Snow Summit - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $265
  • Desert Hot Springs to Los Angeles Airport Departure Transfer: $254
  • Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) to ONTARIO -Round-Trip Private Transfer: $212
  • Private Airport Transfer in Palm Springs: $197
  • Palm Springs Airport to Desert Hot Springs Round-Trip Transfer: $177
  • Palm Springs Airport (PSP) to LOS ANGELES - Arrival Private Transfer: $173
  • Palm Springs Airport (PSP) to INDIAN WELLS - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $163
  • Private Transfer from PSP to Vía La Quinta, Indio, CA : $160
  • Palm Springs Airport (PSP) to PALM SPRINGS - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $159
  • Private Transfer from PSP to Palm Desert / Indian Wells: $137
  • Palm Springs Airport PSP to Snow Summit-Arrival Private Transfer: $132

Typical Local Transportation Prices in San Francisco

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in San Francisco:


  • Taxi to SFO
    $45
  • Golden Gate Bridge Toll
    $6.00
  • Alcatraz Tour
    $30

Hired Cars and Shuttles in San Francisco

Also for San Francisco, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Private One-way Airport Transfer (San Francisco Airport To/From San Francisco): $17
  • Transfer in private vehicle from San Francisco Airport to City: $35
  • Private Arrival Transfer from San Francisco Airport SFO: $44
  • Private Departure Transfer to San Francisco Airport SFO: $44
  • San Francisco Airport (SFO) to Oakland - Arrival Private Transfer: $44
  • Transfer in private vehicle from San Francisco City to Airport: $55
  • San Francisco to Oakland Airport (OAK) Private Departure Transfer: $64
  • San Francisco to San Francisco Airport Private Departure Transfer: $79
  • San Francisco Airport to San Francisco Private Arrival Transfer: $79
  • Round trip transfer in private vehicle from-to Airport in San Francisco: $80
  • San Francisco Airport (SFO) Private Round trip Transfer: $85
  • SFO Airport Private Transfer to/from Downtown San Francisco: $97

Is it cheaper to fly into Palm Springs or San Francisco?

Prices for flights to both San Francisco and Palm Springs change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Palm Springs $53
    San Francisco $46

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Palm Springs

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Palm Springs.

  • Coachella Valley Cooking Class with Locals in their Home: $164

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in San Francisco

For San Francisco, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • San Francisco Virtual Food Tour with Local Guide: $19
  • North Beach and Little Italy Food Tour: $79
  • Secret Food Tours San Francisco: $84
  • Mission District Food Tour with Tastings: $85
  • San Francisco North Beach and Chinatown - Secret Food Tours: $86
  • San Francisco Walking Food Tour With Secret Food Tours: $86
  • Farmers' Market & Ferry Building Food Tour: $87
  • San Francisco North Beach Food Tour: $89
  • Chinatown Walking Food Tour: $89
  • Mission District Walking Food Tour: $89
  • Mission District Food Tour: $89
  • San Francisco Chinatown Food Tour: $89

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Palm Springs $29
    San Francisco $46

Tours and Activities in Palm Springs

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Palm Springs are as follows:

  • 100+ Self Guided Driving & Walking Tours by Action: $100
  • Covered Wagon Adventure & BBQ: $129
  • Death Valley National Park Audio Guided Driving Tour: $9.99
  • Death Valley National Park Self-Guided Audio Driving Tour: $17
  • Desert Healing Experience: $175
  • Earthquake Canyon Express Downhill Bicycle Adventure: $139
  • Indian Canyons Walking Tour by Jeep from Palm Desert: $200
  • Indian Canyons Walking Tour by Jeep from Palm Springs: $200
  • Joshua Tree National Park Driving Tour : $209
  • Joshua Tree National Park Offroad Tour: $209
  • Joshua Tree National Park Scenic Tour: $149
  • Joshua Tree National Park Self-Driving Audio Tour: $17

Tours and Activities in San Francisco

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for San Francisco.

  • San Francisco self-guided tour App - multilingual AudioGuide: $4.31
  • Historical San Anselmo: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.24
  • San Francisco's Barbary Past: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.99
  • San Francisco’s Chinatown on foot: A Self Guided Audio Tour: $5.99
  • Embarcadero Self-Guided Audio Smartphone Tour: $5.99
  • Self Guided Chinatown Tour: Food, History and Culture: $5.99
  • Walk the Haight: A Self-Guided Audio Tour of SF’s Hippie Counterculture: $6.47
  • Food, History, and Resistance: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $6.99
  • Ghosts & Hauntings Audio App Walking Tour: $6.99
  • The Ghosts of San Francisco Haunted Audio App Walking Tour: $6.99
  • Self-Guided Audio Tour of Japantown & Stories: $6.99
  • San Francisco's Glen Park and Glen Canyon: A Self-Guided Tour: $7.55

For more ideas for your next trip, check out The Best Museums in San Francisco, The Best Outdoor Activities in San Francisco, and Things to Do In San Francisco on a Rainy Day.


Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Palm Springs $13
    San Francisco $22

Sample the Local Flavors in Palm Springs

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Palm Springs:

  • Palms to Vines Wine Tasting tour from Palm Springs: $299

Sample the Local Flavors in San Francisco

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in San Francisco:

  • Private Self Guided Tour and Bar Crawl in Chinatown San Francisco: $4.00
  • Chinatown San Francisco’s Bar Crawl: An Audio Tour: $4.99
  • Ghosts, Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl: $35
  • Walk with Spirits: A Haunted Pub Crawl in San Francisco: $45
  • 2 to 3 Hour Bar Crawl in Castro San Francisco: $49
  • Wine Tasting on the Bay: $85
  • Private Wine Tour Napa or Sonoma from $99 per person up to 7 & Concierge Service: $99
  • San Francisco Napa and Sonoma Valley Wine Tour: $125
  • Half-Day Wine Country Tour with Wine Tastings: $126
  • The Ultimate Napa & Sonoma Wine Tour: $139
  • From The Ultimate Napa and Sonoma Wine Tour: $139
  • The Ultimate Napa & Sonoma Wine Tour: $139


When comparing the travel costs between Palm Springs and San Francisco, we can see that San Francisco is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in North America, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Palm Springs Expensive? and Is San Francisco Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Palm Springs or San Francisco?

San Francisco has a larger population, and is about 20 times larger than the population of Palm Springs. When comparing the sizes of Palm Springs and San Francisco, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Palm Springs or San Francisco?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Palm Springs or San Francisco in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Palm Springs as well as San Francisco. Also, many travelers come to San Francisco for the beaches, the hiking, the city activities, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences.

In July, Palm Springs is generally a little warmer than San Francisco. Daily temperatures in Palm Springs average around 73°F (23°C), and San Francisco fluctuates around 63°F (17°C).

Palm Springs usually gets less rain in July than San Francisco. Palm Springs gets 0 inches (1 mm) of rain, while San Francisco receives 0.1 inches (2 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Palm Springs 73°F (23°C) 
    San Francisco 63°F (17°C)

Should I visit Palm Springs or San Francisco in the Autumn?

Both San Francisco and Palm Springs are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. Also, many visitors come to San Francisco in the autumn for the hiking trails, the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area.

Palm Springs is a little warmer than San Francisco in the autumn. The daily temperature in Palm Springs averages around 69°F (20°C) in October, and San Francisco fluctuates around 63°F (17°C).

In October, Palm Springs usually receives less rain than San Francisco. Palm Springs gets 0.3 inches (7 mm) of rain, while San Francisco receives 1.3 inches (33 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Palm Springs 69°F (20°C) 
    San Francisco 63°F (17°C)

Should I visit Palm Springs or San Francisco in the Winter?

Both San Francisco and Palm Springs during the winter are popular places to visit. Furthermore, most visitors come to San Francisco for the museums, the shopping scene, the theater shows, and the cuisine during these months.

In the winter, Palm Springs is a little warmer than San Francisco. Typically, the winter temperatures in Palm Springs in January average around 57°F (14°C), and San Francisco averages at about 50°F (10°C).

Palm Springs usually gets less rain in January than San Francisco. Palm Springs gets 2 inches (52 mm) of rain, while San Francisco receives 3.8 inches (96 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Palm Springs 57°F (14°C) 
    San Francisco 50°F (10°C)

Should I visit Palm Springs or San Francisco in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Palm Springs and San Francisco. Furthermore, the spring months attract visitors to San Francisco because of the beaches, the activities around the city, and the natural beauty.

In April, Palm Springs is generally a little warmer than San Francisco. Daily temperatures in Palm Springs average around 62°F (17°C), and San Francisco fluctuates around 58°F (14°C).

In April, Palm Springs usually receives less rain than San Francisco. Palm Springs gets 0.9 inches (24 mm) of rain, while San Francisco receives 1.2 inches (31 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Palm Springs 62°F (17°C) 
    San Francisco 58°F (14°C)

Typical Weather for San Francisco and Palm Springs

Palm Springs San Francisco
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 57°F (14°C) 2 inches (52 mm) 50°F (10°C) 3.8 inches (96 mm)
Feb 58°F (15°C) 2.3 inches (58 mm) 54°F (12°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm)
Mar 59°F (15°C) 2.2 inches (57 mm) 56°F (13°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm)
Apr 62°F (17°C) 0.9 inches (24 mm) 58°F (14°C) 1.2 inches (31 mm)
May 65°F (18°C) 0.2 inches (6 mm) 60°F (15°C) 0.2 inches (5 mm)
Jun 69°F (20°C) 0.1 inches (2 mm) 62°F (17°C) 0.1 inches (3 mm)
Jul 73°F (23°C) 0 inches (1 mm) 63°F (17°C) 0.1 inches (2 mm)
Aug 74°F (24°C) 0.2 inches (4 mm) 64°F (18°C) 0.1 inches (1 mm)
Sep 73°F (23°C) 0.4 inches (9 mm) 66°F (19°C) 0.3 inches (7 mm)
Oct 69°F (20°C) 0.3 inches (7 mm) 63°F (17°C) 1.3 inches (33 mm)
Nov 62°F (17°C) 1.5 inches (39 mm) 57°F (14°C) 2.8 inches (71 mm)
Dec 57°F (14°C) 1.7 inches (42 mm) 51°F (11°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm)